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On 5 November Parts & Power, along with their co-sponsors Northern Lights, Volvo Penta and Marine Maintenance Service sponsored the 14th Annual Charter Yacht Society (CYS) AGM and Crew party.  Parts & Power have been sponsoring this event from its inception.  As this is the only time of the year that the CYS membership are all gathered together, Executive Director Janet Oliver approached Tom Gerker of Parts & Power in 2004 and suggested that they make a party out of it in hopes of getting a better turnout for the AGM.  Considering it a great idea, Parts & Power approached Northern Lights who came on board and has been a co-sponsor ever since.

The BVI Charter Yacht Society is a vital part of the Marine Industries in the BVI.  They lobby on behalf of the Crewed Charter Industry with Government.  The Crewed Yacht Industry is a large part of the BVI economy, supporting nearly every business segment of the community: Transport (airlines, ferries & taxis), hotels, restaurants, food purveyors, Wine, Beer & Spirits sales, marinas, chandleries, rigging services, engine & generator repair services, painters & varnishing services, laundries & dry cleaners and just about every other service business in the BVI.  As their livelihood depends upon a pristine environment, the Crewed Yacht Operators are very strong advocates for keeping the Territory “Clean and Green”.  They do everything in their power to protect the fragile marine infrastructure and assist in keeping it clean and beautiful.

But, as independent owner/operators, the BVI Government often does not always hear or know about what they are contributing.  Likewise, Government does not know or understand what impediments stand in the way of this vital Industry continuing to contribute to the economy.  This is where Janet Oliver and the volunteer Board of Directors of the Charter Yacht Society come in.  They not only lobby on behalf of the CYS membership, but they advocate for the many support Industries who are important to their member yachts, promote Ecological initiatives and donate money to various NGOs in the BVI such as the Family Support Network and the Kids And The Sea program.

Parts & Power has always appreciated the contributions of the Crewed Yacht Industry, and the great efforts of the Charter Yacht Society.  So, they were happy to sponsor this important event for the CYS. They approached Northern Lights Inc (NLI), manufacturers of the most popular Marine Generators in the Caribbean, and widely used by the Crewed Yacht Industry.  NLI recognize the importance of the Owner/Operators, and support organizations like the CYS.  They are a unique business in that they pay attention to the “little guy”, listen to their needs and react in any way they can.  This may be a change in the design of what they manufacture, customizing a product for one customer or, in the case of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, dropping prices on their products to aid in the rebuilding and recovery.

Volvo Penta, likewise recognizing the value of this Industry, joined as a new co-sponsor in 2014.  This was part of Volvo’s revised strategy to offer unparalleled support to customers in the Caribbean.

The Charter Industry was devastated by the Hurricanes in 2017 but, with the help and assistance of organizations like the CYS, they started to claw their way back right away.  The Charter Yacht Society managed to get 20 boats together for their Show in November 2017, from a previous high of 90 yachts in 2016.  This year they had 45.  Many new faces, and a number of veteran crew, were present at the Crew Party.  They were focused on supporting the CYS, participating in initiatives to protect and improve the Environment, and learning about what their Organization is doing and plans to do for the BVI Community.  And, of course, they came to have fun, enjoy the fellowship and consume the food and drink provided by hosts Nanny Cay.  A feast was served, and the libations flowed freely from the well-tended bar.

Fun was had by all as Tim Dabbs, of Marine Maintenance Service, and Tony Tuckett, of Parts & Power, held a Trivia Quiz and gave out prizes donated by Northern Lights and Volvo.


Northern Lights Dealer training

Dealer participants attending the Caribbean Service Training, hosted by Parts & Power and Northern Lights Inc from 14-16 July 2015 in Tortola BVI, were all positive in their reviews and comments. There were 6 ratings of “Excellent” (5 out of 5) and 6 “Good” (4 out of 5). There were the inevitable complaints about Service Trainer and Technical Director, Dan Durbin’s notoriously bad drawings. But he always managed to get his point across. The participants were unanimous in the fact that the quality of the instruction was very good to excellent.

In addition to his decades of field service experience, Dan has been doing Service Training since the 1960’s for such organizations as the Army Engineer School, several Colleges and a variety of Diesel Engine/Generator manufacturers. He still does training for Northern Lights at customer training events in FL. Northern Lights SE Regional Service Manager, James Newball who has been with the company of over 6 years, said he even learned a few new things at the Training. James attended the training to support Dan’s efforts, and to explain Service issues that the factory is seeing around the world. It was also James first visit to the Caribbean to meet the Dealer network and hear, first-hand, the challenges faced by NL Dealers and Customers in the Caribbean.

All the participants learned about changes to the website. It recently received a major face lift thanks to the efforts of Jennifer Dowling and Scott Putnicki at NL factory headquarters in Seattle, WA. Information for customers and dealers is available on the website, as well as links to NL Parts & Operators Manuals, the Dealer Secured website, “Ask a Tech” inquiry link and Service Tips. A Parts Special was revealed that is only available to customers who visit the website.

Northern Lights Dealer Service Training is challenging because of the various backgrounds of the dealers participating. Some are Mechanics looking for more information on DC and AC electric. Others are Electricians looking for more information on Diesel Engines. Dan is very good at getting the theory and hands on training across though.

Diesel engines are a continually changing product these days due to the changes required to maintain emissions compliance by the EPA, IMO and various other regulatory organizations. Although AC and DC electricity is constrained by the laws of physics, there are new products being introduced every year to meet customers increasingly sophisticated power demands, which make generators more complicated. “One of the best features of Northern Lights Generators,” commented Parts & Power MD Tom Gerker, “is that their DC logic has remained largely unchanged for over 40 years.” It worked well in the 1970’s and works well today. Despite that, NL is always striving to improve their systems, so the product continues to evolve.

That is the reason that Northern Lights and Parts & Power puts on regular Regional Training for their Caribbean Dealers.

Northern Lights Inc and Parts & Power want to extend their gratitude to the 12 participants who made the sacrifice in time and expense to attend the training, and become more knowledgeable about the product. Their Dealerships will receive a “golden wrench” next to their Dealer name on the NL Dealer Directory and on the website. We also want to extend thanks to the hard working staff at Parts & Power for making the event such a great success.